Thursday, January 12, 2023


I know you've probably seen the Houston taco shop shooting video. Lots of well-meaning people are second-guessing the guy who ended the robber's career.

Yeah, I agree. The final shot to the bad guy's head was probably unnecessary-- but I wasn't there.

On the other hand, if the defender had turned his back and the bad guy had raised up to take a shot (had his gun been real), the defender would have carried that guilt for the rest of his life. The smart thing to do, for someone who wasn't suffering an adrenaline dump, would have been to stand watch, with the gun pointed at the bad guy, ready to put him back down if he looked like he was getting up.

However, the defender was undoubtedly not thinking straight at that point. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins and clouding his thoughts. He was running on reflex and emotion.

And the bad guy was 100% responsible for putting him in that condition through his actions, so the responsibility for his death is on him alone. I have zero sympathy whatsoever for anyone who decides to rob people under threat of death, and then ends up reaping what he sowed.

This is why I don't generally second-guess defenders who "over-react" by making sure the bad guy isn't getting up again. Ever.

If the defender had been a cop I would still consider it a good shooting.

I saw a video from Brazil on the TwitBird a few days ago where a bad guy had taken a woman hostage and was running down a sidewalk with her in tow. As he rounded a corner he came face-to-face with a cop, who shot him. He dropped the hostage and began running away and the cop shot him several more times-- in the back-- until there was no way this guy was going to get up again. In the back. As he ran. And I defended the cop's actions in that shooting. (Only pointing out that American cops would have arrested you or me for shooting the bad guy in the back as he ran away.)

It's different from shooting a guy who's not currently violating anyone but is running from someone who arbitrarily demanded he stop. Or shooting a guy crawling on his knees begging you not to kill him. Those shootings aren't justified, but shooting a thug who is in the act of robbing people... Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

If I were called upon to arbitrate this case I might dock the defender a couple ounces of silver for over-reacting in the heat of the moment. Then I would dock the bad guy's estate (if any) for a pound or two of gold for restitution to everyone in the taco shop, including the defender.

I would seriously hope that if I were ever in that guy's situation I could stop shooting as soon as the second-guessers-- who aren't there in the heat of the moment-- think I should. 

Because I can empathize and imagine myself in their place, I'm willing to give others who are in a place they have a right to be, doing things they have a right to be doing, the benefit of the doubt when they are forced into a situation by someone who has no right to be in a place doing what he's doing. When robbers are killed by their victims, I can't care.

I couldn't do this without your support.